Good Communications Generate Good Generations

Virtual training session Foundation for Mother and Child Health Indonesia with Farida Ayu Erikawati collaborated with USANA Foundation. Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The collaborative sessions between FMCH Indonesia and USANA Foundation are still continuing! Previously, we conducted a virtual class about the importance of ASI. Then, on October 14th, 2020, a virtual class was successfully held by Farida Ayu Ekawati on the importance of communication and counseling skills. The class was attended by 7 staff from FMCH Indonesia via a zoom meeting. This intensive 4-hour class began with pre-test work for the participants. The purpose was to determine the participants’ initial understanding on the topic. Class started after that. Using the two-way class method, Farida made each session easy to understand by the participants. In the first session, Farida brought up the topic of breastfeeding counselor competence. She stated that as counselors, we must master 12 basic competencies and 16 additional competencies in order to facilitate mothers properly. The keys to this competency, both basic and additional, are the ability to listen, assist, support and understand the clinical skills in lactation management. These abilities are important starting points for counselors.

Farida emphasized to us that in the counseling process, it must be remembered that a counselor is not an advisor. As counselors, our main task is to help mothers through sharing methods to increase their self-confidence as well as supporting them. In contrast to giving advice, in whichpeople give advice without paying attention to the real needs of mother. This class became very interesting when a discussion was held about how to encourage a mother to want to be open with the counselor. Some of the participants thought counselors had to have a friendly face, others thought the counselor had to be patient when listening, and some stated that a counselor had to be willing to share. All these answers are correct. Sometimes, the obstacle that counselors face is that a mother doesn’t want to share her story. As counselors, we must put ourselves inthe same position asmothers, be friendly, willing to listen, and share. Additionally, create an atmosphere of counseling as if you were talking to each other as friends.

Towards to the end of the session, Farida explained as a counselor, it is mandatory to pay attention to the ladder of behavior change of the people we assist. The ladder of change, from the lowest to the highest is: (1) I don’t know, (2) I know, (3) I am motivated to try something new, (4) I am adopting a new behavior, (5) I preserve new behavior which then becomes my daily habit.

As a counselor, we want people, particularly mothers we work with, to adopt new and better behaviors in their daily life. We can start from the lowest to the highest ladder to achieve that. In order to sharpen the participants understanding, Farida challenged the participants to solve some case studies. As an example, what if a mother has reached the knowing stage, what should the counselor do to move up the stage? Or what if the mother has adopted a new behavior, what should the counselor do to move up the level to the next ladder?

These case studies triggered a class discussion that made this virtual class very dynamic and easy to accept. Additionally, in applying the behavior change ladder, participants were also reminded to applythe three compulsory steps of counseling called 3B in Indonesia: Bertanya (Ask), Berpikir (Think), and Bertindak (Act).

The ultimate goal is to make counseling work effective and to meet the needs of two parties. Closing the session, Farida also simulated breastfeeding observations from counselor to mother using a breastfeeding observation sheet. Each participant was requested to pay attention to filling out this form as it is an important instrument for maximize counseling.

An important message from this class is that good communications through a good counseling process,helps ensure the optimal growth and development of children. (Brg/Comms)